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Keeping Focus
October 2011
Labor of Love
by Lori Coeman

A principle of good leadership is to consider what you can do best, what no one else can do quite like you can, and contribute that to the organization. What can homeschooling parents do best? Be a family.

No one knows your children like you do. With one exception – God. And in His infinite wisdom, He put your family together, with the mix of personalities and learning styles for a reason. It goes beyond being fruitful and multiplying physically.

It has to do with God’s design for the institution of the family. “A family,” as Charles Swindoll points out, “is a place where principles are hammered and honed on the anvil of everyday living.”

I live not too far from Greenfield Village, an historical recreation of American life through history. I’ve visited the blacksmith’s forge and felt the intense heat and heard the banging of the hammer slamming down on the red-hot metal resting on the blackened anvil. It’s hard work.

Why would anyone want to work day in and day out in that intense environment? For the reward of watching a piece of metal take shape – becoming a beautiful piece of art that is also functional.

What makes the blacksmith’s work unique is the forging. Forging metal is different from machining. In forging, none of the material is removed. It is only reshaped.

The primary tool God uses to shape us is the family. The various “fearfully and wonderfully made” individuals clang and bang together, some more harmoniously than others, until we learn what it means to live with and for others.

It’s no coincidence that the family is also the primary way we learn what it means to be forgiven and to forgive.

The principles learned in the sheltered yet intense environment of the family is what that child will take into adulthood – how to relate to others, how to manage a household, the necessity of self-control, respect for God’s creation, being teachable, striving for fruitfulness…the list goes on.

That is the joy – and the work – of raising your children in the home. It is the difference between home generation and a school system. Generation means to beget, to produce after its own kind. Your offspring exhibit many of your characteristics, but first and foremost they are created in God’s image. Spirit, soul, and body.

God gives you the privilege of reshaping these unique designs to His glory. That is what you and you alone can do best for your children.

It is that or the conformity of the school system – whether that system is at another location or in your home. The school system is certainly easier.

Forging is hard work. Yet the reward is greater. It’s a labor of love, an investment of time, money, and self. As we consider the costs of this labor, let us look to Jesus our Example, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured so much more than we will ever have to endure. How could He face all that? Because He knew the end result. Not only did He sit once again at the right hand of the Father as from the beginning, but He enabled generations of the family of God to join Him.

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